Arts & Crafts


Southern Arts & Crafts

The range of art & craft available in Krabi is limited.


The arts of southern Thailand consist mostly of craft and performing arts.


Modern-day craft and street artists are best seen on Krabi Town’s weekend Walking Street fair (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings, beginning at 18:00). The crafts available are: shadow puppet images made from leather; handcrafted leather items; handmade jewelry, woven items from grasses; marsh plants, and vines; soap carvings; items made from shells, and plant-leaf origami. Several street-painters create excellent small paintings of Krabi scenes.  

Items made from silver are a specialty of Nakhorn Sri Thammarat (khruang thom & khruang sam kasat). Nakhorn Sri Thammarat is also the historic center for the weaving of the Yan Lipao fern vine into baskets and handbags. Some of these women's evening bags have silver or gold fittings and sell for thousands of dollars. This classical craft is being preserved by projects sponsored by Queen Sirikit.

Good quality, original design jewelry is not yet available in Krabi.

Leather shadow puppet figures have been crafted for centuries by villagers in Phattalung and Trang provinces. Performances using these 'Nang Talung' puppets are an earthy folk rendition of literary stories. Modern-day shows, which often last until dawn, are performed at funerals, country, and town temple fairs. The dialogue is full of double entendres, often explicit and raunchy, which brings in contemporary politics with a biting, sarcastic, and critical manner.

The 'highest' form of southern art is the Manora, an elaborate, stylized dance illustrating 12 stories from old Thai literature Phra Sukon–Manora. These tales originates with the Jakata Tales of Buddhist scriptures and the dance combines a Buddhist, Brahman, and animist approach to the stories. Magic is central to the traditional form of the Manora, with many rituals and rules surrounding each performance.

The Manora role is a depiction of the heavenly, half-bird, half human, Kinnari figure from Thai classical literature and folklore. The dancers wear intricately beaded costumes that are an art form of their own.

It is highly likely that the Manora is the oldest form on Indian inspired classical dance in Thailand. The poses are direct descendants of those of ancient India (which have died out) and can be seen in some of the bas-reliefs at Angkor Wat in Cambodia—influenced by the architecture and culture of the Srivijaya Empire. During the Srivijaya Empire, the culture of India and Ceylon (Sri Lanka) was introduced into Southeast Asia in a major transmission of the religion, arts, and literature of South Asia to the Malay Peninsula. Hinduism (with Brahmanism) and Buddhism first showed up in East Asia in the Southern Thailand region. (See Page on History.)

Batik cloth making has migrated up from further south on the Malay Peninsula. Traditional and modern designed cloth and garments are produced on small, family owned workshops.


Boat builders of southern Thailand have designed wooden boats made from local wood that are suited to the various water conditions around the peninsula. In the southeast, they are painted with geometric patterns in vibrant colors. The boats in Krabi are simple, unadorned boats. The most common in Krabi, the rua hua thong, with its square, curved masthead, is gracefully practical. Boat miniatures are crafted in several spots around the province.

Nang Talung Leather Shadow Puppet Figures
One of the Many Classic Poses of Manora Dancer
Gold and Black Enamel Nieloware
Yan Lipao (Fern-like Vine) Woven Handbag with Gold Fittings